Three seniors at Papillion La Vista Community Schools were named National Merit Scholarship semifinalists this year.
Papillion-La Vista High School students Braxton Fjeldsted and Vincent Lin and Papillion-La Vista South High School student Nicholas Lauver were some of about 16,000 semifinalists across the country in the 65th annual competition.
Making it this far, Fjeldsted said, is a goal he has always hoped to reach.
“I heard about it when I was young and it’s always been one of my goals to get to the point where I’m at now,” Fjeldsted said.
“It’s cool to see a goal accomplished. You don’t always get accomplishments in your life and I feel pretty lucky that I get to enjoy that.”
In school, Fjeldsted plays the alto saxophone in Monarch Marching Band, the pep band, Monarch Jazz Orchestra and Monarch Jazz Combo.
He is also involved in National Honor Society and Quiz Bowl as well as enjoys taking math and science classes, especially physics, he said.
Outside of school he is also a member of the youth group of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
In the future, Fjeldsted plans to study mechanical engineering at one of his top college choices of Brigham Young University, University of Utah and Utah State.
Lin, who is also a member of the Monarch Marching Band, Monarch Jazz Orchestra, the pep band and the show choir bands where he plays the flute and piano, also feels honored to be nationally recognized.
“Getting this award was kind of a surprise for me,” Lin said. “It proves to myself that I’m capable of being a top student of not only at my school, but also the country.”
He also takes part in Quiz Bowl and French Club.
Though he is undecided on a specific major, Lin said he wants to study math and science as well as music during his college career.
Lin said he plans to apply to his top school choices, which are Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Chicago.
Lauver said when he was named a semifinalist, he and his family were ecstatic.
“It was really exciting,” Lauver said. “I’ve never been nationally recognized for anything before so I like that part of it. It’s pretty cool.”
At PLVS, Lauver said his favorite class is math. He is also a member of the Math Club, a varsity tennis player and a mentor in Circle of Friends, a group of peer role models who work with students who have challenges when it comes to learning and social skills.
He also plays club soccer at Papillion Soccer.
In the future, Lauver plans to study actuarial science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
More than 90% of semifinalists will advance to finalists, which will be announced in February and 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth more than $31 million will be offered in the spring.